We live in a world where the simple things are often dismissed, such as meeting someone new or sharing a glass of wine with friends. Disregarded and forgotten, these simple things leave us with a string of experiences that translate into our life, providing a distinct definition of who we are.
This concept is something that Adelaide-based photographer Trent Parke has attempted to discover with his current exhibition The Black Rose, currently on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
The Black Rose encompasses a collaboration of seven years work and self-discovery; displaying Parke's deeply personal autobiographical work. Within the showcase he uses photographs, light boxes, video, written texts and books to display his visual narrative. Pieces vary in scale and significance, with photographs focusing on birds in flight and plants in the Australian outback. Throughout the exhibition however, the images become more complex and encapsulating, as they engulf millions of underlying thoughts, memories and awakening feelings of life. Each image portrays an emotion, with some being polished, crisp and strong whilst others are occasionally distorted as if they were taken in a blurred rush.
Always a storyteller, Parke has mastered the magic and mystery portrayed in the exhibition as he takes you through the stories of his life from child to freelance photographer and father. As he narrates the stories of his past, you discover the feelings of uncertainty and pain of a 12 year old that has lost his mother, all the way through to the joy of becoming a father himself. Parke’s autobiography is about exploring the past and present, which in turn will shape the future.
These incredible photographs are reflective of everyday life, exploring the deep meaning of seemingly average moments that are otherwise taken for granted. Parke uses contrasting colour schemes, which focus on harsh light and shadows; helping to enhance the stark in-your-face images. Throughout each individual photograph, there is no definitive line between reality and fantasy. Although there are many realistic photographs, the unconventional stylistic method of Parke’s photography creates a question of doubt.
Presented as part of the 2015 Adelaide Festival of Arts, Parke's work gleams with a series of fragmented moments. Don’t enter the exhibition with naive thoughts of smiling portraits and cute puppies, because you’ll be in for a shock. The bewildering gaze portrayed by Parke’s lens is far more intuitive.
Trent Parke's exhibition will be on display at the Art Gallery of South Australia until May 10.
When: Open daily from 10-5pm.
All images via Trent Parke, displayed in The Black Rose Exhibition